After last Tuesday’s Georgia senate elections in which both Democratic candidates, Raphael Warnock and John Ossoff, won their races, liberals around the country have been giddy thinking of what the ramifications could be. The direct result of the two races is that the Democrats now own control of the senate (alongside the house of representatives and the presidency, forming a “trifecta”), meaning they have a majority and the senate majority leader will now be Democrat Chuck Schumer instead of Republian Mitch McConnell.

While there certainly are some important short-term consequences of the senate elections, it’ll still be next to impossible to pass any major legislation, and so the more important result of the Georgia senate elections may be how they affect the outlook on long-term electoral trends.

The most immediate effect of the senate majority the Democrats will now have is on the passage of $2,000 stimulus checks to all Americans under a certain income, which has previously been blocked by Republicans. These relief checks can be passed with a simple majority vote, thanks to a process called reconciliation. Normally bills in the senate can be filibustered, in which case 60 votes are needed to pass the bill. Reconciliation, however, prevents certain bills from being filibustered.

The passage of these checks is no guarantee though. The Democrats have a very narrow majority in the senate—the narrowest possible, in fact—and can’t afford for anyone to vote against them.

At least one Democrat, Joe Manchin, one of the more conservative Democrats in the senate, has already expressed skepticism of the good the checks would do compared to what they would cost. As reported by Politico, Manchin said in an interview that, “Sending checks to people that basically already have a check and aren't going to be able to spend that or are not going to spend it, usually are putting it in their savings account right now, that's not who we are.”

While there’s a decent chance the stimulus checks will end up passing, prospects aren’t looking nearly as good for other priorities of the Democrats. Things like expanding health care coverage, changing the structure of the Supreme Court, and admitting Washington D.C. as the 51st state will be hard pressed to overcome a filibuster.

Looking into the future, the Georgia senate elections, alongside its presidential election in which it voted for Joe Biden, demonstrate that the Democrats are now viable in Georgia for the first time in decades, after a dramatic shift to the left over the last couple election cycles.

This is crucial because of how the rest of the electoral map is changing. Central among these areas is the Rust Belt, particularly Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. In 2012, these three states voted for the Democratic (Obama) candidate over the Republican candidate (Romney) by an average of 4% more than the country as a whole. By 2016, that flipped to 3% more for the Republican than the country as a whole, which propelled Trump to victory, and that remained the same in 2020, though Biden was still able to carry the states.

If this trend of favoring the Republicans continues and isn’t only because of Trump, the Democrats need new states that they can win to be competitive in future elections. If Trump had won all three of those states in 2020, he would have been reelected. Georgia flipping to the Democrats alone couldn’t make up for the loss of the Rust Belt, but it would be a start, and it would provide insurance for the loss of one of the states.